The Ukrainian communications solutions provider Datagroup has reached an agreement to acquire 100% of the country’s leading cable operator Volia with the full backing of Horizon Capital’s EEGF II fund.
EEGF II is the sole financial investor in Datagroup with a 96.13% stake, alongside CEO Mykhailo Shelemba, who holds 3.87%. This transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals.
Commenting on the deal, financial details of which have not been disclosed, Lenna Koszarny, Horizon Capital’s founding partner and CEO, said: “The vision of uniting these two companies, both private-equity backed, has been a long-held dream within Horizon Capital and Datagroup. We are thrilled to realise the opportunities from merging two companies which are such a natural fit for each other. Both Datagroup and Volia operate in a highly fragmented industry which historically has meant limited investor interest and capital invested. Scale truly does matter when it comes to infrastructure to meet the demands of increasing digitalisation, requiring significant capital investments to modernise and expand both last-mile and national fibre infrastructure. The winners from this merger will be Ukraine’s consumers and the country as a whole, as Ukraine needs significant backbone infrastructure investments to meet the demands of the digital age”.
She concluded: “I wish to extend a sincere thank you and appreciation to Volia’s talented management team and dedicated shareholders, who truly have built a successful business committed to delivering quality service, continuous innovation and exceeding customer expectations, and to the stellar Datagroup team!”
Mykhailo Shelemba, Datagroup CEO and shareholder, added: “I look forward to this new, exciting chapter in the company’s development. The fixed broadband market in Ukraine is extremely fragmented with over 5,000 internet service providers operating in the country. This large fragmentation does not allow most players to maintain high investment levels necessary to continuously introduce new technologies for their customers, which is critical in this modern, digital world. The merger of Datagroup and Volia will allow us to realise operational synergies, invest into modernisation of our networks, continue to provide best-in-class service for our customers, and create greater opportunities for our employees. Each company focuses on different customer segments – Datagroup is the leader in B2B segment with only 15% of its revenues generated by B2C, while Volia is the leader in the B2C segment with less than 5% of its revenues generated by B2B customers. Post-integration, the combined business is expected to generate revenues exceeding $130 million and over $50 million in EBITDA, with one of the lowest leverage ratios among large telecom companies in the CEE region. We hope that our example will pave the way for greater investor interest and significant investments in Ukraine’s infrastructure throughout the country, by both domestic and global players. We believe in Ukraine and its future!”
Anton Dzyubenko, CEO of Volia, said: “On behalf of Volia, our management team and employees, we look forward to embarking on this journey together with Datagroup and Horizon Capital. We are proud of our team and our significant achievements over the years and look forward to new successes in the future on the basis of our consolidated platform. The merger will allow us to bring new technologies, to further extend our world-class standards of corporate governance, and to make a significant contribution to Ukraine’s pursuit for greater digitalisation and breaching the digital divide. This is a win-win-win for all – for Volia, Datagroup and Ukraine as high growth and greater performance generates more taxes and benefits to society, thus supporting the country’s government in achieving global leadership in the provision of high-quality digital services for its citizens”.